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Ministers with no clue
marymary100 - 21-3-2008 at 09:49

We had a series of religious assemblies yesterday - one for each year group. I toddled along to the second year one with about 200 youngsters aged about 13/14 from an area of deep deprivation.

Not for us the Easter story with a few readings and maybe a song or two -oh no.

The American minister stood at the front of this group and for the next 20 minutes read the whole of the "I have a dream" speech word for word. He didn't bother to set the scene, or explain anything or even tie it up by saying what the message was. He didn't emphasise the best bits or show them a picture of Martin Luther King. He assumed that because this speech resonates with the American public that it would resonate with working class white children. The fire of Martin Luther King was missing and it wasn't even particularly well read. It was a disaster. To give the students their due, they sat there stoney-facecd and listened politely but it wooshed right over the heads of most of them.

It was an object lesson on how to turn people off religion. Don't American ministers get training in how to present and appeal, or maybe even teach? He's been in this country for about 2 years - it's not getting any better.confused2


The speech in case you're not familiar with it


scholar - 22-3-2008 at 03:10

Quote:
Originally posted by marymary100
Don't American ministers get training in how to present and appeal, or maybe even teach?

The training varies widely, from denomination to denomination, and even within denominations. Different colleges or seminaries can turn out students for the same denomination, with different curriculums, and there may be different paths within the same institutions. I know of a denomination that pushes for a "wish list" of everything they would like a pastor to have for students who attend denominational schools for eight years (from right out of high school), but they have streamlined requirements for people who started outside the system and transferred in, and minimized requirements for older second-career people. (The thinking is, you can't get a man in his fifties to take eight years of training--he won't have time to pay off his student loan before retirement.)

One problem: ministers don't necessarilly follow their training (they might let their language skills fall into disuse, might not spend as much time in preparation they are taught to do, etc.)

Another problem: ministers are commonly given a whole list of duties and tasks, among which their skills are usually uneven. I hope the man who did so poorly at the assembly is better at classroom teaching, or preaching, or home visits, or evangelism, or comforting the sick, or working with youth.

The best congregations have ministers who gladly enjoy using the talents of their lay people to supplement their own, and who use their own abilities generously. It's also good for ministers to continue to increase their abilities--people to whom a skill does not come intuitively can still make an effort to learn it. They may never be the very best, but they might learn to do something well enough. (Actually, that's a good idea for all Christians!:D)


SRD - 22-3-2008 at 08:16

I do hope the minister in question isn't getting paid.


marymary100 - 22-3-2008 at 09:38

Ah, but he is - and a CoS salary too.


Quaver - 22-3-2008 at 09:58

Did the minister realise that his speech did not go down too well?


SRD - 22-3-2008 at 10:01

Typical priest, happy to take the money and neglect the responsibilities.


janet - 22-3-2008 at 10:14

Ministerial training is one of my bugbears.

Some can be very good - most C of E priests (who go through the normal route to ordination) will have a degree; many RC priests do not. Having said that, I've taught newly ordained C of E clergy who amazed me at some of the things no one had suggested they think about... (1)

As for some of the training offered to those (almost always men) in some of the newer denominations... well, let me say that in my experience at times there seemed to have been no attempt to instil anything like a sense of criticality.

(1)Before anyone says, "What are you doing about it?" - which would be a fair point considering my training - the answer is not as much as I used to but I was for quite a time heavily involved in the training of lay ministers in the local C of E diocese...


marymary100 - 22-3-2008 at 12:53

As I said a minister with no clue.....


Badgergirl - 22-3-2008 at 13:13

The minister at my auntie's recent baptism decided that would be a good time to state that Dog's have no Souls. (And would just pee on the cross, )
My Gran very nearly walked out at that point, and my Cousin, my auntie's Son stifled giggles all the way through.

I think some preachers use any old oppertunity when people are watching them to spout off their own personal views.


scholar - 22-3-2008 at 14:49

Quote:
Originally posted by Badgergirl
The minister at my auntie's recent baptism decided that would be a good time to state that Dog's have no Souls.
I hasten to point out that Genesis 1 talks about creatures in the sea and sky and on the earth having living souls, souls of life (nephesh hayah s).

I think that Christian ministers who contradict the Scripture's teaching are not just on thin ice, I think they've fallen through into the water!


scholar - 22-3-2008 at 14:52

Quote:
Originally posted by Badgergirl
I think some preachers use any old oppertunity when people are watching them to spout off their own personal views.
Sadly, this is true of some. :( I hope they don't do it all the time.


LSemmens - 23-3-2008 at 10:11

Every denomination has its "cowboys". Some are just plain "wet behind the ears", others, make me wonder how they even managed to pass their training. I've know some great lay people who would eat some of the theologically trained for breakfast. Some of them, even I could chew up and spit out. We had one who, fresh out of college, proceeded to tell those who had been strong Christians for longer than he'd been alive that he'd been to college and we knew nothing. I didn't last long in that church.